Interventional Radiology: Medicine’s ‘Best Kept Secret’

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12/28/2021

Photo: Michael Hurcomb

kawarthanow.com

Called “the best kept secret in medicine,” interventional radiology has become a cornerstone of patient care at Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC).

One of medicine’s most exciting and innovative specialties, interventional radiology can rapidly diagnose and treat life-threatening health conditions. The minimally invasive treatment can result in an overall reduction in recovery time with less trauma to the patient.

Dr. Fady Abdelsayed is one of four interventional radiologists at PRHC who perform up to 6,000 of the procedures every year.

“In interventional radiology we use real-time imaging — radiology — to find and correct, or intervene in, health conditions,” Dr. Abdelsayed explains. “We use CT scans, fluoroscopy, or ultrasound to steer needles, guidewires, and catheters into tiny incisions in the skin or through blood vessels to perform a procedure.”

Interventional radiology can find and treat problems just about anywhere in the body, all through a tiny opening. It can be used to drain infections, perform biopsies on organs, unblock arteries outside the heart, stop bleeding from an injured blood vessel or blood flow to a tumour, drain blocked kidneys and bile ducts, and more.

“It’s remarkable how many different things we can do,” Dr. Abdelsayed says. “We use it during scheduled procedures and in emergencies. It’s helpful for a wide range of health conditions and patients. If a patient has an infection, we might use interventional radiology to drain it. For cancer, we might use it to do a biopsy or even deliver targeted medicine directly to a tumour. For bleeding, we might use it to stop the hemorrhage.”

“It can also be a safer and faster option for patients for whom conventional surgery is too high risk, including many of the estimated 60,000 seniors in PRHC’s catchment area,” he adds.

“It helps us innovate and push the boundaries of what we can do for patients,” Dr. Abdelsayed says. “It often lets us quickly give a patient relief from pain or help get them a diagnosis sooner. Because it’s minimally invasive, patients often experience an overall reduction in recovery time with less trauma.”

“We can help treat patients from almost every area of the hospital, including the intensive care unit, dialysis, the operating room, the cancer care clinic, and the emergency department,” he says.

A leader among Ontario’s community hospitals in delivering a wide range of interventional radiology services, PRHC is one of the busiest interventional radiology centres outside of downtown Toronto. As a regional referral program for interventional radiology, the hospital is the hub of care for a catchment area of 300,000 people, including patients from Haliburton, the City of Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland, Peterborough, and North Hastings County.

“But the two suites where we perform these procedures were built 13 years ago,” Dr. Abdelsayed points out. “They’re too small to fit the medical personnel and state-of-the-art equipment we need to expand and offer this care to more patients.”

“Our facilities are in constant use and the need is only growing,” says Lesley Heighway, PRHC Foundation President and CEO. “Because the government doesn’t fund equipment, our hospital is counting on your donations. Your support will help PRHC’s healthcare professionals provide patients with the very best care — close to home.”

Donations to the PRHC Foundation will allow the hospital to renovate and expand its two existing interventional radiology suites and add a new step-down unit, as well as outfit all three with state-of-the-art, high-resolution imaging technologies, while also expanding the recovery room.

“We will be able to see more clearly, our radiation dose to the patient would be decreased, and we would be able to expand our services,” Dr. Abdelsayed explains.

“We all want to give our patients the best care possible, but the government funds only a portion of the hospital’s costs,” says Dr. Abdelsayed. “So we’re very grateful to our community for helping us by donating to the PRHC Foundation.”

For more information or to support this needed investment in the future of healthcare at our regional hospital, visit the PRHC Foundation’s website at prhcfoundation.ca or call 705-876-5000.

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